Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s Explained
To help explain, think of dementia as the umbrella term. Dementia is a term used to outline a decline in mental functionality that is severe enough to interfere with daily tasks in life. This includes basic communication, routine activities, and memory loss. On another note, Alzheimers is a brain disease which is the most common type of dementia. With Alzheimers, symptoms tend to gradually worsen over time. Lets break down both dementia and Alzheimers to get a better understanding.
Treatment For Both Can Be Challenging
In both dementia and Alzheimers disease, almost every patient reacts differently to each medicine. This is why diagnosis and treatment can be so challenging.
Effective treatment requires monitoring of symptoms, functional impairment, and safety, and the use of multiple treatment modes including medication, behavioral management, psychotherapies, psychosocial treatments, and support and education for families.
Early diagnosis is very important in both dementia and Alzheimers as it allows the possibility of treating with agents that can slow the cognitive decline at a point where there is still minimal impairment.
Since the natural course of behavioral disturbance changes as the illness progresses, patients require repeated regular reassessment of treatment and changes as appropriate.23
Both dementia and Alzheimers disease can be frustrating not just for the patient but for the caregiver and family members. Long-term care provided by family members and caregivers becomes the most important factor for the patient. This is why educating and supporting those who deal with the patient on a daily basis is such an integral part of treatment.
Difference Between Alzheimers And Senile Dementia
ALZHEIMERS VS. SENILE DEMENTIA
Old age and the loss of mental faculties are an unfortunate but harsh reality. Alzheimers disease is, perhaps, the most common and debilitating of this type of affliction. However, most people are unaware that Alzheimers disease is only one disease under the larger umbrella that is Senile Dementia. Alzheimers maybe the most infamous, but there are many other forms of this condition.
Senile Dementia can be considered as an all-encompassing term utilized to indicate the deterioration and eventual loss of intellectual acuity related to advanced aging, and is caused by degeneration of ones brain cells. Alzheimers disease is often confused as either the same or alternatively it is often considered to be something entirely different from it. Yes and no yes, Alzheimers disease is a condition that qualifies as Senile Dementia, but Alzheimers is actually one of the forms of it. Other forms of Senile Dementia include Fronto-temporal Dementia, Lewy Body disease, Parkinsons disease, and Vascular Dementia. Alzheimers, meanwhile, is the most common of these. It should also not be confused with normal senility.
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Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s: Differences And Similarities
The terms dementia and Alzheimers are often used interchangeably. They, however, are not completely synonymous. Dementia is a group of symptoms characterized by a decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning. Dementia is not simply the age-related forgetfulness it is associated with other changes as well. It hinders a person from performing their routine tasks. They find it difficult to focus, understand, concentrate, and have a conversation besides other complaints. There are several causes of dementia:
Although dementia is a cluster of symptoms, Alzheimers is a disease. It is the commonest type of dementia consisting of around 60-80% of dementia cases. Alzheimers disease is an irreversible, slowly progressive disorder of the brain that destroys memory and thinking skills which eventually makes a person unable to carry out the most basic tasks. Most people develop this disease in their mid-60s while for some the symptoms first appear between their 30s and mid-60s. There are seven stages of Alzheimers, dementia occurs in the mid to late stages of the disease.
How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Progress
The rate of progression of the disease varies from person to person.
However, the disease does lead eventually to complete dependence and finally death, usually from another illness such as pneumonia. A person may live from three to twenty years with Alzheimer’s disease, with the average being seven to ten years.
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How To Understand The Difference And Why It Matters
by Kathleen Fifield, AARP, Updated June 15, 2020| 0
Doctors usually rely on observation and ruling out other factors to diagnose Alzheimer’s.
En español | The terms dementia and Alzheimers have been around for more than a century, which means people have likely been mixing them up for that long, too. But knowing the difference is important. In the simplest terms, one is broader than the other. If the two were nesting dolls, Alzheimers would fit inside dementia, but not the other way around. While Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia , there are several other types. The second most common form, vascular dementia, has a very different cause namely, high blood pressure. Other types of dementia include alcohol-related dementia, Parkinsons dementia and frontotemporal dementia each has different causes as well. In addition, certain medical conditions can cause serious memory problems that resemble dementia.
A correct diagnosis means the right medicines, remedies and support. For example, knowing that you have Alzheimers instead of another type of dementia might lead to a prescription for a cognition-enhancing drug instead of an antidepressant. Finally, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial for Alzheimers if youve been specifically diagnosed with the disease.
Outlook For Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is one of the highest leading causes of death among senior citizens. Approximately one in three people, aged 65 and above, will die from Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of dementia. It will kill more people than breast and prostate cancer.
The life expectancy for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease tends to vary depending on many factors average life expectancy is three to eleven years , but people can go on to live with Alzheimer’s for 20 years or more.
If the symptoms of Alzheimer’s show at the age of 75, they are likely to live for another seven years or so, post-diagnosis. But, if the symptoms affect someone around the age of 90 then they are likely to live for another three years, approximately.
Since Alzheimers is a progressive disease, the earlier the diagnosis is made and the earlier treatment begins, the better is the outlook for the patient.
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Treating Alzheimers Disease Vs Other Types Of Dementia
Neither Alzheimerâs nor most other types of dementia have a cure. Doctors focus treatments on managing symptoms and keeping the disease from getting worse.
Some of the treatments for dementia and Alzheimerâs overlap.
- Cholinesterase inhibitors can help with memory loss in certain types of dementia and Alzheimerâs.
- Glutamate inhibitors help with learning and memory in both dementia and Alzheimerâs.
- Sleep medications may help with sleep changes.
- Antidepressants can help with depression symptoms.
- Antipsychotic medications may help with behavior changes.
Some types of dementia respond to treatment, depending on what is causing it. Your doctor may recommend:
- Stopping the use of drugs and alcohol
- Tumor removal
Alzheimers Disease Is A Form Of Dementia
Dementia is an umbrella term it is not a single disease but a diverse collection of symptoms. It refers to a decline in mental ability that is serious enough to impair and interfere with a persons daily life. Alzheimers disease, on the other hand, is one of the causes of dementia and is considered the most common form of dementia.1
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How Is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed
There is currently no single test to identify Alzheimer’s disease. The diagnosis is made only after careful clinical consultation.
The clinical diagnosis might include:
- A detailed medical history
- Lumbar puncture for cerebral spinal fluid tests
- Medical imaging
These tests will help to eliminate other conditions with similar symptoms such as nutritional deficiencies or depression. After eliminating other causes, a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be made with about 80% to 90% accuracy if the symptoms and signs are appropriate. The diagnosis can only be confirmed after death by examination of the brain tissue.
It is important to have an early and accurate diagnosis to determine whether a treatable condition other than Alzheimer’s disease, is causing the symptoms. If Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed, medical treatment and other assistance can be discussed.
What To Do If Youre Worried About Your Memory
If you suspect youre experiencing any warning signs of dementia , the first thing to do is see a physician. Dr. Scharre recommends asking for a cognitive assessment at your annual physical so your results can be compared year-over-year and declines can be identified and addressed right awayjust like a colonoscopy, blood pressure screening, or cholesterol testing.
As with any medical condition, typically the earlier you identify it, the more options you have for treatment and typically the better you do, he says. Some forms of dementia have treatable causes while others like Alzheimers are also treatable, just not reversible or curable. Thatnew medication the FDA approved for Alzheimers, for example, only works in the mild cognitive impairment stagethats where its sweet spot is and if you start getting even a little bit more than mild dementia its not useful.
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What Patient Behavior Is Typical Of Dementia
Anger, confusion, anxiety, and sadness are a few of the emotional symptoms a dementia patient might experience. The overwhelming nature of these feelings often results in a range of unpredictable behaviors that requires the caregiver to be extremely patient.
Familiarize yourself with some of the most common symptoms of the disease and situations that may arise for someone with dementia.
Nutrition experts recommend including omega-3 essential fatty acids into your diet at the very least 3 times per week.
During a study of more than 2,500 adult men, those that enjoyed the very least communication with family and friends were almost three times as apt to develop dementia compared to those that enjoyed far more lively social activities.
Social activity and keeping friends and family as well as social relationships appear to arouse your brain cells while keeping them from wasting away.
When was the very last time that you had a cup of coffee with your sister or a friend?
Research studies highly recommend that seniors which includes those that have Alzheimers disease, could better their memory with a little practice.
Its claimed that activities such as crossword puzzles, mind games and even really difficult mental exercises may help your brain produce brand new neural pathways as the older brain-cells expire. Grab your word-search books and papers now and have a bit of mental fun!
Did you know
Myths About Dementia And Alzheimers Disease
The right treatment and support are critical to the well-being of anyone diagnosed with any form of dementia, so its important to know fact from fiction when it comes to these common myths.
Myth: Dementia is a normal part of aging.
Fact: Dementia is a disease of the brainnot a normal part of aging. Forgetting where you put your keys is a common problem for a lot of people as they age. But signs of dementia are more than just moments of forgetfulness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . With dementia, a person may be unable to complete ordinary tasks at home or at work, get lost in familiar places and forget the function of common items. When these symptoms appear, its time to see a doctor.
Myth: You cant reduce your risk of getting Alzheimers disease or other kinds of dementiayou either get it or you dont.
Fact: Adopting healthy habits can lower your risk of developing dementia, or at least delay the onset. Healthy body, healthy mind, says Dr. Caselli. What we can control, we should control. Though he adds that even a lifetime of healthy habits is no guarantee of protection.
Myth: Since there is no cure, theres no point in getting a diagnosis.
Myth: A diagnosis of Alzheimers or another form of dementia means life as you know it will soon end.
Myth: Coping with a family member with Alzheimers is overwhelmingly difficult.
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The Difference Between Frontal Lobe Dementia And Alzheimers Disease
Frontal lobe dementia directly affects the frontal lobe that is found behind the forehead. It also impacts the temporal lobe region that sits behind your ears. Therefore, it is also referred to as frontotemporal dementia. Here are the major differences between frontal lobe dementia and Alzheimers disease:
- Hallucinations Delusions and hallucinations are prevalent in Alzheimers disease, but are seldom seen in frontal lobe dementia.
- Getting Lost Alzheimers patients are more likely to suffer from the affects of spatial orientation, wander off, and not remember where they are.
- Earlier Diagnosis Frontal lobe dementia sufferers tend to be diagnosed much earlier than Alzheimers patients.
- Change in Behavior Behavioral changes normally occur later in Alzheimers disease cases, but are usually one of the early signs in frontal lobe dementia.
- Memory Loss Alzheimers disease is likely to cause memory loss much early than frontal lobe dementia.
- Speech Issues Frontal lobe dementia sufferers have more difficulty with speech disorders than Alzheimers patients. Alzheimers patients can also have problems with forgetting words and thoughts.
You Asked: Whats The Difference Between Alzheimers Disease And Dementia
While often used interchangeably, dementia and Alzheimers disease are not the same. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimers disease is a specific type of dementia that causes memory loss and impairment of other important mental functions. An expert from the Texas A& M School of Public Health describes how these conditions can impact the lives of both patients and those around them, and provides insights into ways of minimizing risks.
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The Difference Between Alzheimer’s And Dementia
The main difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia is that Alzheimer’s is a disease, and dementia is not. Instead, it’s an umbrella term for a group of symptoms that includes memory loss, a decline in language and comprehension skills, a reduction in judgment skills, and the inability to think through tasks, such as finding your way home from the store, preparing a meal, or getting dressed.
Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, is a disease that causes this set of symptoms. Currently, there are more than five million people in the United States who have Alzheimer’s disease, and scientists predict that this number will increase to 14 million by 2050.
The Effects Of Alzheimers On The Brain
Damage to the brain begins years before symptoms appear. Abnormal protein deposits form plaques and tangles in the brain of someone with Alzheimers disease. Connections between cells are lost, and they begin to die. In advanced cases, the brain shows significant shrinkage.
Its impossible to diagnose Alzheimers with complete accuracy while a person is alive. The diagnosis can only be confirmed when the brain is examined under a microscope during an autopsy. However, specialists are able to make the correct diagnosis up to 90 percent of the time.
The symptoms of Alzheimers and dementia can overlap, but there can be some differences.
Both conditions can cause:
- behavioral changes
- difficulty speaking, swallowing, or walking in advanced stages of the disease
Some types of dementia will share some of these symptoms, but they include or exclude other symptoms that can help make a differential diagnosis. Lewy body dementia , for example, has many of the same later symptoms as Alzheimers. However, people with LBD but are more likely to experience initial symptoms such as visual hallucinations, difficulties with balance, and sleep disturbances.
People with dementia due to Parkinsons or Huntingtons disease are more likely to experience involuntary movement in the early stages of the disease.
Treatment for dementia will depend on the exact cause and type of dementia, but many treatments for dementia and Alzheimers will overlap.
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Some Causes Of Dementia Are Reversible
Dementia is a result of damaged or dying brain cells and is most likely to occur with age. Symptoms vary depending on which part of the brain is damaged by the disease.
Dementia can be triggered by a variety of conditions. Some causes of dementia are reversible, though this has only been shown in 9 percent of cases. Some of the reversible causes of dementia include:
- A dysfunctioning thyroid
- The accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid, which increases pressure within the brain.
In such cases, if the deficiencies and dysfunctions are identified and treated, the symptoms that cause dementia may be reversed and even cured.11
Difference Between Dementia And Alzheimers Disease
There is a significant difference between Alzheimers and dementia. Dementia is an overall term that is used to describe symptoms that have an impact on the memory, communication ability, and overall performance of the person.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia and it is the most common form of the condition. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time and it begins to affect the language, memory, and thought process of the individual, hence early diagnosis is essential to effective treatment.
While younger people are at risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the risk will increase as you age. However, you must note that neither dementia nor Alzheimer’s is a normal part of aging.
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There Is No Definitive Diagnostic Test
Neither dementia nor Alzheimers disease is easy to diagnose. Doctors will first rule out any other problems before confirming whether the signs and symptoms are severe enough to be a kind of dementia. Diagnosis is based on patient history, physical examination, neuropsychological testing, and laboratory studies however, there is no definitive diagnostic test for either condition.18